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In the Frame
Belstaff has teamed up with award-winning Magnum photographer Paolo Pellegrin on a stylish new addition to the intrepid AW16 collection.
'Photography helps people to see' - Berenice Abbott (1898-1991)
From its infancy right up to the present day, photography has been the ultimate way to capture new worlds and share them with people who would otherwise remain in the dark.
As a member of prestigious photographic cooperative Magnum Photos, Italian photojournalist Paolo Pellegrin has documented people and places all over the world. His landscapes are often stark and fractured, such as the powerful series reporting the aftermath of Japan's devastating 2011 tsunami. Likewise, his portraits also show lives affected by war, disease and the random cruelty of Mother Nature. Yet, even in his more crowd-pleasing projects - such as this year's Great Performers exhibition in Hong Kong, which captures A-listers in candid behind-the-scenes fashion - Pellegrin always finds beauty, wonder and hope.
Paolo Pellegrin on the Magnum X Belstaff shoot in Tenerife
Magnum Photos, he says, is 'the original brand for visual storytelling. Our founding members roamed the globe in the 1930s, driven by a curiosity to document what was happening in the world… Today, we remain as curious and as independent as ever. There's a sense of the nomad in each of us.'
Vagabonds are rarely concerned with anything excessive, but even the most minimalistic of travellers needs to be practical. For Pellegrin, an enduring search for the perfect camera bag has this year led him to a unique collaboration with Belstaff.
The photographer teamed up with Frederik Dyhr, vice president of menswear design, to create the Magnum X Belstaff camera bag for the AW16 clothing and accessories collection. The bag handily doubles as a stylish weekender, made from a simple cotton canvas with antique brass finish and Belstaff's trademark hand-waxed leather. Dyhr describes the working relationship with Pellegrin as 'very organic'. The two creatives share a common belief that style and function go hand in hand - a philosophy found in Belstaff's iconic apparel, and 'fundamental' to the creation of the new bag.
'The collaboration feels like a really natural fit,' Pellegrin agrees. 'I simply took my needs as a photographer working in the field and applied it to the design of the bag. It really helped that Fred and I had a strong connection; he completely understood that the bag needed to be practical as well as beautifully designed.'
'The collaboration feels like a really natural fit,' Pellegrin agrees. 'I simply took my needs as a photographer working in the field and applied it to the design of the bag. It really helped that Fred and I had a strong connection; he completely understood that the bag needed to be practical as well as beautifully designed.' As a fan of legendary Magnum photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa, Dyhr has credited the agency's iconic reportage style as 'key for the design team' at Belstaff during research and design for many campaigns. In creating objects of timeless function and style, the brand has found a natural rapport with the world of Magnum.
'I think,' Pellegrin explains, 'at the root of both brands is a strong sense of legacy and heritage, as well as an independent spirit of adventure, which is captured so well by photography.'